L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Move to hatch less eggs
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
Poultry farmers in the region would reduce production by 10-15 per cent to control the demand-supply gap arising due to public panic on account of reported cases of bird flu.

“Demand would certainly be affected. Our main focus is making farmers aware that situation would be short-lived and under control if they take adequate precautionary and preventive measures and stop dumping their produce in haste,” said Mr P.P.S. Gill, secretary, Punjab Poultry Farmers Association.

He said in the prevailing market scenario, farmers were likely to dump all their produce in the market, creating a glut. “Such a situation needs to be controlled which is why we have asked farmers to reduce production by 10-15 per cent in case of eggs and lengthen the cycle in case of broilers, thereby reducing supply in market.”

Low demand created panic among farmers. Adding to the worry, five trucks sent from Punjab to Jammu and Kashmir were reportedly returned by the Jammu and Kashmir Government from the Lakhanpur border yesterday.

“We would approach the state government to ensure that states like Jammu and Kashmir cooperate instead of taking stern measures like this. Precautions are to be taken but such moves would worsen the situation,” Mr Gill said.

Farmers’ bodies are now emphasising on measures to generate awareness among farmers as well as public about the virus.

In a meeting of poultry farmers in the Ludhiana zone, veterinarians and officials from the Animal Husbandry Department held here today, the farmers were provided details on precautionary measures. “For instance, they were told to reduce farm movement. We asked them to cooperate with the department and immediately report to the department in case any symptom of an avian flu were found.

The farmers would also issue a public appeal to generate awareness about the virus. Mr Gill said in case of an avian flu it were the farmers who were exposed to the highest risk. “People should not panic. Poultry farms in the state are constantly under surveillance and since November we have sent 1,000 samples, none of which had any symptoms of flu. Farmers are taking precautions.”

The Punjab Poultry Farmers Association says it will urge Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang to appear on television and in newspapers having chicken. “Such a measure would certainly build public confidence and save hundreds of farmers from heavy losses they might have to incur on account of panic-driven dip in demand,” the association said.



Don’t panic!
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 20
Even as a sense of scare has gripped the city after reports of outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) from certain poultry pockets of Maharashtra, animal husbandry and medical experts here have maintained that there is no need to get panicky as no confirmed case of bird flu has been reported from anywhere in the country so far.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry Department, Dr B.N. Sharma, said poultry inspectors and other field staff of the department had inspected nearly two dozen poultry farms in Lalton Kalan, Sarabha, Machhiwara and Katani Kalan villages and some others around the city. “There are no symptoms of the infection among the poultry birds inspected till now.”

He said the department would complete the task of covering the approximately 200 poultry farms in the district by Wednesday. The field staff had been provided with medical kits and necessary equipment to take blood samples of the birds, which would be forwarded on a regular basis for laboratory tests against bird flu infection. A district-level control room had become functional at the office of the Animal Husbandry Department, as directed by the Deputy Commissioner, he added.

Dr Sandeep Puri of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital said the medical literature available had no indication about human-to-human transmission of bird flu and it could be contracted only by coming into contact with infected birds.

Dr Puri maintained that even as a certain amount of caution was called for, consumption of cooked chicken held no threat of being affected with bird flu because cooking at high temperature would destroy the virus,but handling uncooked infected bird could prove dangerous.

A spokesperson of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) today refuted the reports of bird flu cases in the Navapur belt of Nandarbar district in Maharashtra, stating that the birds had died of ‘Ranikhet’ disease as per a report issued by the disease investigation section of the Maharashtra Government.

The NECC claimed that of the more than 1000 samples screened by the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre till now, not even a single sample had any indication of bird flu. The High Security Disease Laboratory at Bhopal, where some of the sample from infected birds were sent, was yet to submit its final report. In the prevailing situation, it could be safely said that bird flu had not hit the country and any kind of panic or misgivings about the disease were uncalled for, it asserted.



Red meat a poor substitute
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
Post-bird flu scare, those who thought they would switch over to red meat from chicken, beware! For the animal might not have been slaughtered in hygienic conditions, posing a health hazard.

A perusal of the data of the civic body and estimates from meat sellers in the city is enough to prove that the animals are being slaughtered illegally and are posing a health risk to the consumers. The modern slaughter house in the Haibowal area being run by Municipal Corporation, records slaughter of only around 50 animals during a day while the consumption is anything between 500 and 800 animals a day in the city alone.

While the authorities continue to sit pretty over the issue and refuse to take stock of the situation, sources in MC say the slaughter house was proving to be a white elephant for the local body. Besides spending Rs 10,000 on paying electricity alone every month, the MC pays for other infrastructure and salaries of the staff employed in the house.

In return, it makes between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 every month by slaughtering around 50 animals at a price of Rs 3.75 per animal every day. “This was causing a revenue loss to the civic body, besides posing a threat to the health of consumers, who did not know that the meat being sold to them was unchecked and slaughtered in unhygienic conditions.” said an MC official on the condition of anonymity.

He added that it was only after the direction of Punjab State Human Rights Commission that the MC had started killing animals in slaughter house. But it was only a half-hearted approach that only one-tenth of animals were being slaughtered under hygienic conditions. Rest all were slaughtered without physical check-up and sold directly for consumption.

Sources reveal that there are around 700 butcheries running in the city. This has affected the working of the slaughter house of the MC, which was constructed by it a few years ago.

The sources said the meat shop owners preferred doing the slaughtering themselves as they had to pay Rs 3.75 per animal to the MC. Moreover, in the morning, they were not sure whether the number of animals slaughtered in the morning would be sold by the evening or not.

In the absence of any check on illegal slaughtering, it is going on illegally and lakhs of city residents are being exposed to dangerous diseases. As per the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, notified in the government gazette on March 26, 2001, the rules forbid slaughter of animals, except in licensed slaughter houses.

No animal which is pregnant or has offspring less than three months old or is under the age of three months or not certified by a veterinary doctor should be slaughtered. Animals meant for slaughter would be sent to lairage for resting at least 24 hours after veterinary examination. The rules framed under the Act also regulate the conditions in the slaughter houses and employees engaged for this work.

Unfortunately, none of the rules are followed, posing a health risk to the citizens as these slaughter houses are breeding grounds of flies and rodents and help in increasing stray dog population and spreading diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis and rabies.



Youth convicted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
Mr B.S. Sodhi, Additional Sessions Judge, has convicted Malagar Singh (23), a youth of Dhaul Majra village, Payal, on the charges of illegally possessing 2 kg of opium. He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Sodhi held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. The convict was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. In case of failure to pay the fine amount, he would have to further undergo imprisonment for six months.

‘’People like the convict supply intoxicants to people of countryside and play with their health. Such offences are to be tackled with firmly’’, remarked the judge while declining the plea of leniency raised by the accused.

The accused was booked under Section 18 of the NDPS Act on June 18, 2001, at Model Town Police Station on the day of recovery of narcotics. According to prosecution, around 7.30 pm Sub-Inspector Balbir Singh of the CIA wing, Ludhiana, along with ASI Lakhbir Singh and other police officials was going in connection with checking of bad characters from Dugri bridge towards Arora Place.

When they reached near the cremation ground the accused with a plastic bag in his hand was seen coming from the side of the railway lines. On seeing the police party he tried to turn back. He was stopped by the police party on suspicion. The then DSP(D), Mr Manjit Singh, was called for questioning and frisking the suspect.

The DSP(D) found opium wrapped in a glazed paper inside the bag of accused. He was arrested and tried in court.



Minor booked
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 20
The local police has booked a minor student under Sections 304 A, 279 and 427 of the IPC for allegedly causing death of a girl student who succumbed to her injuries sustained due to careless driving of the accused.

According to an FIR registered at the City police station, Renu Vishat, daughter of Bahadur Singh Vishat of Jandali road, succumbed to her injuries at a private hospital yesterday. She was hurt when a scooter driven by Kuldip Singh, son of Jasbir Singh of Jattiwal village, hit her bicycle on Saturday.

The victim died without giving any statement to the police. 



Mass marriage on March 5
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
The Nishkam Seva Ashram will organise marriages of poor girls on March 5 at the ashram at village Daad, Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana.
The ashram invites applications for the marriage of poor girls by February 28. The girl should be of 18 years of age and the groom should be not less than 21 years of age. The application should carry complete particulars of the couple.



Sukhi case: MCPI (U) flays police role
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
The state preparatory committee of the MCPI (U) has taken serious note of the alleged links of Sukhwinder Sukhi with the top police brass, including the DGP.
Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the committee, has said this is further shocking that terrorist Sukhi has been shown as dead in police records but is living under an assumed identity. All this has put a question mark on the functioning and activities of the Punjab Police, especially in the garb of national security during the so-called terrorism days.

The incident is just one of the many other cases where police is totally hands in glove with the terrorists and further confirms the theory that how terrorism was propped up and used by the ruling class politicians and police in Punjab to further their narrow political economic interests in the state to capture political power, he said.

While demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident, Mr Singh said MCPI (U) was of the view that a judicial commission, headed by a judge of the Supreme Court should be constituted by the government to go into the genesis of such incidents besides identifying and exposing the real faces behind terrorism.

The committee also decried the alleged dual role of the leadership of the CPM and the CPI, which on the one hand was critical of the government on the issues of Iran, disinvestment in public sector undertakings, FDI in retail sector and modernisation of airports while on the other perpetuating its rule despite the anti-people policies of the UPA government.



NRI opens library in village
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
A non-resident Indian Kuldip Singh Gill today sowed the seed of “knowledge” at his native village Maksudran in Ludhiana district. He has set up a library in the name of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in collaboration with the village panchayat and Punjabi Likhari Sabha.

The library was today inaugurated by PAU’s Director of Extension Education, Dr. S.S.Gill.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the idea of Mr Kuldip Singh Gill, who is settled in Canada, was just a small step in bringing about a “book revolution” in Punjab villages, as the future of agriculture and rural development was based in knowledge.

Mr Kuldip Singh Gill has purchased entire set of publications from Punjab Agricultural University. He has dreamt of raising the books’ strength to nearly 2,000, which will include journals and newspapers.

Mr Gill felt that either of the two monthly magazines of PAU “Changi Kheti” or “Progressive Farming” should compulsorily be subscribed to by other libraries, which, he was confident, would be opened in other villages in the near future.

He promised to motivate and organise other NRIs back in Canada to establish libraries in their native villages.

The Deputy Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Mr Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, said all village cooperative societies in Ludhiana district would establish agricultural libraries equipped with farm literature, including the PAU monthly magazine Changi Kheti, and package of practices for rabi and kharif crops.

Punjabi Sahit Akademy, Ludhiana, senior vice-president Gurbhajan Singh Gill said the Akademy would cooperate with any village panchayat or society in setting up such libraries. He said that the Akademy has donated 500 books to the library inaugurated today. 



Residence proof of 1984 riot victims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, who have no ration cards, voter identity cards, water or electricity meters in their names, can submit any other document issued by some government or public agency as their proof of residence in the state of Punjab.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today informed that these documents may include a photo copy of passport, driving licence, BSNL landilne bill, latest income tax return filed at Ludhiana, bank/post office pass book showing transactions at Ludhiana during last year, employment certificate issued by any government/semi government department, or a copy of the voter list.

These documents should show Ludhiana address and should be current. He clarified that these documents should be submitted at the Bachat Bhavan, Mini Secretariat. .

He further informed that those people who were residents of Chandigarh but had domicile of Punjab should submit their applications in the districts from where red cards had been issued to them.



IHRO proposes Akali-free front
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 20
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has proposed a Panthic front of persons opposed to Akali politics and those who have distanced themselves from the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

Mr D S Gill, chairperson of the IHRO, said the front constituents should have commitment to two documents — Amritsar Declaration and Anandpur Sahib Resolution.

He said the front would work for the spiritual rejuvenation of the Panth.

The front would secure socio-economic and political justice and dignity and combat racism and eradicate untouchability and communalism.

For some time, collective leadership may the best choice. But vested interests were a big hindrance in forming the front, he added.



Pensioners threaten to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 20
The Punjab Government Pensioners Joint Front has threatened to intensify the struggle for getting their long-pending demands implemented.
The front blamed the state government of not fulfilling promises made during the last Assembly elections.

Addressing a meeting of activists of the local unit of the front, Mr Inderpal Sharma, president of the Punjab State Confederation and Punjab Government Pensioners Union, Sangrur district, alleged that the Congress government had failed to implement the decisions taken in the favour of pensioners earlier.

“Instead of fulfilling promises made by Congress leaders during the last Assembly elections, the state government tried to please us with abortive slogans,” said Mr Sharma.

He said the union had forwarded a memorandum to the Chief Minister regarding about 25 demands that had been promised earlier. In case government failed to keep the promises made earlier, the union would restart and intensify struggle to get the decisions implemented.

The revision of pensions, pension parity between employees retired before and after January, 1996, additional 5 per cent pension for octogenarians, enhancement of medical allowance and grant of house maintenance are the main demands raised by the pensioners.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh, president, Mr Khazan Chand, general secretary, of the front and Mr Darshan Pal Goel were present.



World Sikh Samelan on February 26
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
Preparations are in full swing for the “Virsa Sambhal World Sikh Samelan” to be held at Fatehgarh Sahib on February 26. The samelan is being organised by the Damdami Taksal, headed by Bhai Harnam Singh, head of the taksal, in collaboration with the Sant Samaj, headed by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi president of the Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj.

Baba Sarbjit, in an interview here, said the samelan would chalk out a programme to preserve the Sikh heritage. He disclosed that invitations had been sent to various important Sikh leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The SGPC had also been invited. The jathedars of the five takhats and the Sikh intellectuals had also been invited to participate in the samelan.

Baba Bedi expressed his concern over the alleged misuse of the Akal Takhat and maintained that the samelan would chalk out a programme to retain the supremacy of the Akal Takhat.



Freedom fighters honoured
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 20
The third Varasit Mela was organised by the Taur Punjabian Di Sabhyacharak Club, Amloh, at grain market here yesterday. A freedom fighter and an INA soldier Gurdev Singh Bharpurgarh was honoured by Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, club president.

The programme began with the folk tale of Sohni Mahiwal by Kavishar Didar Jafar of Hasanpur. Bhangra was presented by a team of the Jhalak Panjab Di Club of Adampur. Idu Sharif presented his songs on the sarangi. Balbir Sufi presented a few folk songs. Presentations of Mohamad Sadiq and Madan Sukhjeet Kaur were also appreciated.

Mr Ramesh Singla, a member of the SAD political advisory committee, distributed 10 sewing machines to needy women. Freedom fighter Kartar Singh Randhawa was also honoured.


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